23 May 2005

Blue Crayfish Tropical Vacation

Dear Blue Lobster:

Im thinking of letting all of my crayfish go im my tropical tank. I just afraid that my slower fish like my knight gobies, plecos, and my eels wont be able to get away.

Do they eat plecos, or do they leave them alone like other fish do to plecos??? They supposidly smell bad to fish like agreesive cichlids.

Dear Gentle Sir:

Taking your crays for a vacation is both stimulating and healthy, and would make for an excellent adventure for your small ten-legged friends. A tropical tank would be especially interesting for them, with its strange fish and plants alien to temperate crays.

There are some things to keep in mind, however.

If any of your crayfish are from the Arctic regions, they may not be able to handle tropical temps. Arctic crays prefer water in the 10-15°C while tropical tanks can reach 24°C and could induce heart attacks and metabolism problems in the cold-clime crays.

Sunscreen is important, especially in tanks that use incandescent lighting, for Northern crawdads who don't see much sun and spend most of their time under rocks or burrows. Squirting a few dollops of SPF 45 or greater will help ensure your crays can play in the gentle surf without worry.

Maintaining a healthy diet is essential, and though the thought that the tropics are just one mixed drink out of hollow fruit after another can be true, if you and your crays mind what's eaten dining can be an exciting experience. For example, there are several species of flatworm and leeches in tropical climates not available in temperate regions, and shrimp and prawn abound.

As for cohabiting your crays with tropical species, look at it as a cultural studies field trip. Let them benefit from meeting new species and seeing other ways of life unfamiliar to them. Breaking down cultural barriers goes a long way toward eliminating xenophobia and racism while familiarity just breeds hatred — for the other fish.

Prepare to watch an amazing display of culture and society from both sides as your gang of crayfish enter the tropical tank as each group of species learns from one another and shares their unique perspective of the world. Perhaps your crays will make friends that will last the years to come!